A man who served the congregation of St. Joseph Catholic Church for more than 30 years was remembered Thursday as a loyal servant of the Lord who did whatever he felt God was asking him to do.
Deacon Dan Scherger, 57, died Thursday morning, about six weeks after being diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor.
The Rev. Joseph Szybka of St. Joseph Catholic Church said people never will be able to thank him enough for what he did because he gave his life to the church, the parish and the Lord.
"How can you ever thank somebody for doing that?" he asked.
Scherger was born Jan. 4, 1954, in Tiffin and graduated from Calvert High School, Holy Spirit Seminary, Lourdes College and Tiffin University. He was ordained as a deacon in February 1989 and served his entire time as a deacon at St. Joseph Catholic Church.
He worked as the pastoral associate at St. Joseph Catholic Church and at two previous Kroger locations, served as an umpire in various baseball and softball leagues, taught seventh-grade religion for Calvert Catholic Schools, was a marriage counselor and a bereavement counselor, and was involved in CCD, the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults program, Serra Club, Knights of Columbus, Optimist Club and committees at St. Joseph Catholic Church.
to Deacon Dan
A statement to family and friends of St. Joseph Catholic Church and Deacon Dan Scherger from the Rev. Joseph Szybka said Scherger will be greatly missed in the community, at the church and at Calvert Catholic Schools.
In the letter, Szybka invited former and current altar servers and students to accompany the casket as it enters St. Joseph Catholic Church for the funeral at 11 a.m. Tuesday. They should meet at the main vestibule of the church. They are to follow the casket, and seats are to be saved for them at the front of the church for the Mass.
There is to be a funeral lunch in Calvert Elementary School's cafeteria immediately following the funeral.
Calling hours are 4-8 p.m. Monday at the church, with vespers offered at 4 p.m., according to the statement.
Bill Scherger, Dan's older brother, said he had been having headaches and slight short-term memory and balance problems in May. He was diagnosed with a brain tumor in early June and underwent surgery June 3. It was determined the tumor was cancerous several days after it was removed.
Bill said his brother's tumor, which was located in his cerebrum, was referred to as glioblastoma.
"It is the worst type of cancer someone can have," he said.
Bill said when it was determined Dan could not survive the cancer, he decided to go home and do the best he could with what time he was given. He decided against treatment and was told by a doctor that if he would have undergone treatment, he may have survived a year, he said.
"It was not survivable," he said.
Dan died about six weeks after his diagnosis, and Bill said he remained cheerful until the end.
"He was probably as optimistic as a person could be with that type of outlook facing him. He was able to interact with people that came to visit him, not only in the hospital, but here in the house," he said.
Dan's last time being in public and on the grounds of St. Joseph Catholic Church was when he attended the thanksgiving Mass and reception of the Rev. Philip Smith, a Calvert graduate. Smith was ordained to the priesthood June 25 and had a Mass in St. Joseph Catholic Church the next day.
Smith said Dan helped him plan the Mass. Dan's health prevented him from reading the Gospel during the Mass. Smith said he made a heroic effort in many ways to be present for the Mass, which meant a lot to him.
"For me, it was very meaningful to have him present for my first Mass," he said.
Smith said he was inspired by Dan's hard work, work ethic, outreach to the community and desire to share God's message with others and serve the people of Tiffin, especially those at St. Joseph Catholic Church.
"For me, Deacon Dan was an example of someone who dedicated his life to service for others," he said.
Szybka, who was among the clergy who attended Smith's thanksgiving Mass, said he knew Dan from when his brother, the Rev. Stan Szybka, served as the associate pastor at the church from 1987 to 1993. He said Dan already was preparing for the diaconate and worked in the parish and its office.
Szybka said he appreciated Dan from the first day he started at the parish, and he made Szybka's transition to pastor at St. Joseph Catholic Church easy. Szybka said Dan always was there to help him in whatever way he could, and he thinks Dan saw making his job easier as part of his role.
"He certainly did that," he said.
Szybka said Dan was much more than an employee of the parish, and a person can't pay someone to do what he did because he did it from his heart. Dan had a servant heart and did whatever he felt God was asking him to do, he said.
"In the core of his being, it was to serve other people," he said.